Emily, Shireen and I were all on a flight from New York City to Washington D.C. Sunday at 2 p.m., maybe. Times and dates are a little fuzzy right now. We boarded our flight to Indy around 4 p.m. as some spooky gray clouds were rolling in. Very long story abbreviated, we sat on the runway for 3 hours waiting for the spooky gray clouds to pass when it was announced “WE’VE BEEN CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF!” followed two minutes later by “SUCKAS! WE CAN’T TAKE OFF AFTER THREE HOURS ON THE RUNWAY! FLIGHT CANCELLED!”
They herded us off the plane, gave us a phone number to call and didn’t even say goodbye. Emily got on a flight through Charlotte that left within the hour, she was gone before I was even talking to a human. Shireen was told ten p.m. the next day was the first available while I was offered a flight to Cincinnati that night because “It was close enough.”
After several minutes of stunned silence she offered me a flight to Indy through Charlotte at 4 p.m. the next day.
In an attempt to find out what happens to luggage when all the flight plans go boom, we asked a gate agent what we should do.
“Why are you not on the 10 o’clock to Indy?” she asked.
“We’re not entirely sure.” we replied.
After a couple of phone calls and some frantic tapping away at her computer we were booked from Washington D.C. to Indianapolis at 10 p.m. that evening, except it had been delayed to 11;15 pm, WHICH WAS FIIINE! We were getting out of there! Hooray!
We sat at our gate and watched the previous plane leave and listened patiently as the gate agents estimated the arrival of our plane. Just after 11 p.m. our plane pulled in and they promised us a quick service turnaround and we’d be boarded and out of there by 11:15 p.m. I hadn’t even bothered to tell Cody the good news because I figured it would be a nice (albeit frightening serial killer-ish) surprise to crawl into bed with him at 3 a.m.
At 11:14 p.m. a woman with a strong Jamaican accent got on the intercom and announced “Flight 5718 to Indianapolis has been cancelled, go to the third floor to rebook your flight out for tomorrow.”
The other 100 passengers groaned so loud the floor shook and staged an uprising, Shireen and I fell into fits of hysterical giggles, because clearly something like this would happen.
(Both photos of a delirious me in National by Shireen.)
We called and rebooked our flights, Shireen was offered 10 p.m. again while I was offered 3 p.m. through Philly. We worked together to get both of us on the Philly flight leaving at 3 p.m. and once it was all done? We were done.
As we stumbled to bag claim going over how many ways things could go more wrong, firemen showed up with axes because there was smoke pouring out of the elevators.
Because of course.
Once we found out our bags had moved onto Indy without us we realized we were in a strange town with a laptop, two smartphones, a stuffed bunny and a lot of lip balm. Someone had seen that we were in D.C. on Facebook and emailed me her phone number, you know, just in case. I’m not so sure she was expecting a call from a total stranger at midnight asking if she could come pick her and her friend up from the airport and oh by the way can we please sleep in your house and do you have a couple of spare toothbrushes we could use?
Chrysta (heretoforth dubbed the ‘Angel of D.C.’) pulled up in her light blue minivan and hauled us back to her house where the most amazing guest bed was awaiting us. Shireen and I stared at each other and both said “I’m sleeping in my underwear” at the same time, we then fell into bed and forgot where we were or how we got there for the next 8 hours.
In the morning Chrysta fed us breakfast, her three boys convinced me that I need a son and then she drove us back to D.C., only instead of dropping us at the airport I asked if she could drop us at the Lincoln Memorial.
Hey, when in D.C., you may as well see some of the sights.
We stared a Lincoln, made the Washington Monument into a unicorn horn, tried to squish it, then walked towards the other end when I turned and saw “That wall thing!” also known as the Vietnam Memorial.
Y’all, I’ve never been to D.C. and my travel weary brain could barely comprehend the amount of history surrounding me. I SAW THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE PENTAGON TODAY. Oh, and the Jefferson Memorial. What’s that thing down there? THE CAPITOL BUILDING OF THE ENTIRE NATION? NO BIG DEAL. Oh, hey there Smithsonian. Holla at the Department of the Treasury! FBI WHAAA! I could have spent DAYS there.
But we had a flight to catch.
Many of the outfits on our flight looked familiar, it was comforting to know we weren’t the only ones in day old underpants and the same outfits from the day before.
Cody was left to fend on his own for one more night with a sick grouchy baby, a big kid who wanted to her mom and I’m pretty sure I owe my neighbor a weekend spa retreat for taking on a sick baby at the last second since Cody had a trial first thing in the morning.
The situation could have been a little better, but it also could have been A LOT worse. I could have had Vivi with me. I could have been alone. I could have been in a crummy city where I didn’t know anyone, I could have been without a cell phone, I could have been rerouted through Vegas, a plane could have crashed or my baggage could have been lost, but none of that happened. I was told I couldn’t get ice cream from an ice cream shop in the Philadelphia airport because it was frozen (seriously.) but that was the extent of our woes today.
What did happen were 36 hours of chaos that were completely out of my control and I made the best of it. I mean, if you have to spend the night in a strange city flying by the seat of your very dirty pants? It may as well be with one of the best people who has ever come into your life and who agrees to squat down in a photo so the Washington Monument looks like a unicorn horn coming out of her head.
Shireen: “You know who else got to go to Washington D.C. after BlogHer?”
Shireen: “NO ONE.”